Monthly Archives: December 2006

Faith & Economics – Spring/ Fall 2006

Faith & Economics
NUMBER 47/48, Spring/Fall 2006


Agency and Incentives in International Development Partnerships
Jeremy Thornton and Phil Thornton

Abstract: This paper examines the issue of international development partnerships among NGOs in the context of a principle-agent framework. Specifically, we characterize the ability of shared religious values in development partnerships to mitigate agency problems. These advantages are weighed against practitioner reluctance to engage religious organizations in the development process or to fully utilize economic incentives. The paper is supported by survey responses from Christian ministry organizations involved in international partnerships.
JEL: O1, D8, D2

A Test of Portfolio Risk in Microfinance Institutions
Peter R. Crabb and Timothy Keller 

Abstract: Microfinance institutions serve some of the world’s most needy. A significant challenge facing these institutions is the battle for financial self-sufficiency. This includes controlling all the risks in the loan portfolio. In addition to adequate collection, timely payments provide for a greater extension of funds to other poor people, resulting in further outreach and development. This study uses a large international cross-sectional microfinance data set to test how lending methodology mitigates or contributes to loan portfolio risk. Group-lending is of particular importance to Christian organizations seeking to use microfinance as more than just assistance to the poor, but also to empower women and to increase outreach. The results show that group-lending methodologies reduce the risk in MFI portfolios compared to traditional individual loans.
JEL: G21, G32, E6

Is There Value-Added in Christian Scholarship? The Case of Unemployment
Bruce G. Webb 

Abstract: While some Christian economists have promoted a distinctively Christian, integrative approach to the discipline, others have criticized this work for not saying anything that could not be said by a secular economist, and hence adding no value to existing economic knowledge. Using a broader view of value-added that takes into account the author’s intentions and audience, I examine the integrative writings of four Christian economists on unemployment. By placing economic ideas and policies in a theological context, these authors add value by promoting Christian social responsibility and addressing (alleged) theological or economic errors in other Christian writings.
JEL: A13, E12, E24, J64


Can a Christian Be an Economist?
Charles K. Wilber 

Benchmarking Scholarships in Economics
Kurt C. Schaefer

Book Reviews

The Social Economics of Poverty: On Identities, Communities, Groups, and Networks
by Christopher B. Barrett
Reviewed by Bruce Wydick 

Land and Forest Economics
by G. Cornelis van Kooten and Henk Folmer
Reviewed by Paul N. Wilson 

The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success
by Rodney Stark
Reviewed by Earl Grinols 

The Decline of  the Secular University: Why the Academy Needs Religion
by C. John Sommerville
Reviewed by Sarah Hamersma 

Food Aid After Fifty Years: Recasting Its Role
by Christopher B. Barrett and Daniel G. Maxwell
Reviewed by Paul E. McNamara

The Redemption of Love: Rescuing Marriage and Sexuality from the Economics of a Fallen World
by Carrie A. Miles
Reviewed by Rebecca A. Havens

Free People: A Christian Response to Global Economics
by Tricia Gates Brown
Reviewed by Adel Abadeer 

The Not So Wild, Wild West: Property Rights on the Frontier
by Terry L. Andersin and Peter J. Hill
Reviewed by Edward Stringham 

Globalization and the Good
by Peter Heslam
Reviewed by Steven L. Rundle 

The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth
by Benjamin M. Friedman
Reviewed by John E. Stapleford 

The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy
by Thomas E. Woods
Reviewed by Andrew Foshee